Barton may be one of the oldest teams in the Ohio Valley Baseball League, but the Braves have definitely proved that their playing days aren’t that far behind them.
The Braves (8-4) rolled past St. Clairsville, 10-2, at Henning Field in Crescent Wednesday night as they backed Mike Kolvek’s five-hitter with a well-balanced 11-hit attack.
The LaRoche Tree Service Ohio Valley Baseball League contest was originally scheduled for Memorial Park in the Belmont County seat, but was switched to Crescent due to wet field conditions.
“This was a pivotal game for us,” said Kolvek, who also doubles as the Barton manager. “They had beaten us twice, so we needed this win because the standings are pretty tight.”
Neffs and Maynard were rained out last night. Maynard (7-5) remains 1/2 game behind Barton.
Leading 1-0 after scoring an unearned run in the top of the first, the Braves broke the game wide open with a six-spot in the fourth as 10 batters went to the plate.
Veteran OVBLer Vinny Kirkpatrick reached on an error leading off and hustled into third when former St. C. standout D.J. Hynes crushed a double off the 312-foot sign in left field. Charles Bishop’s sacrifice fly chased home Kirkpatrick, making it 2-0.
Left-handed hitting Joel Atkinson’s slow roller to second scored Hynes with what turned out to be the game-winning tally, and Atkinson was safe when nobody covered first base. Mike Coss reached on another infield safety and Darrin Young’s looper into shallow right-center loaded the bases.
With two outs, George Laase, a former Buckeye Local and Fairmont State University product and current Buckeye Local head baseball coach, drilled a two-run single past first base, upping the count to 6-0.
Laase would eventually scored on Jonathan Duncan’s RBI single to left.
“We’ve been struggling at the plate thus far,” Kolvek noted, “but we broke out of it today, and just about everyone contributed. That’s a good sign.”
And just about everyone did as seven of the nine starters had at least one hit, with Laase (single, double), Hynes (2 doubles), Atkinson (2 singles) and Coss (2 singles) all had multiple-hit games.
Atkinson, a former Barnesville standout, drove in three runs, including two with an opposite-field single in the sixth that concluded the scoring.
Four other Braves drove in runs as Laase finished with two, while Duncan, Bishop and Young all had one each. Even though Kirkpatrick didn’t have a hit or drive in a run, he was on base three times and scored twice.
“We are probably the oldest team in the league,” added Kolvek, a former St. John Central and West Liberty State College hurler. “There are five teams in this league that are mainly college kids, so they’ve got 40-or-so games under their belts already.”
St. Clairsville (6-5) is one of those young squads as its fields four Wheeling Jesuit University players, along with a Mt. Union College performer.
Former St. Clairsville High product Justin Sabo drove in the lone run with a third-inning groundout.
Kolvek was in command from the start. He struck out four and issued just a pair of free passes while scattering five singles. He is now 2-1 on the season.
Casey Tennant, who pitched for the Red Devils during his prep days and is now at Mt. Union, suffered the loss. He yielded seven runs on eight hits in four innings, striking out two and walking none.
Barton 100 612 0 — 10 11 2
St. Clairsville 001 000 1 — 2 5 4
BATTERIES: B—Kolvek and Young. STC—Tennant, Vicker (5) and Myser.
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BARTON’S DARRIN Young slides safely into third base during Wednesday’s LaRoche Tree Service Ohio Valley baseball League action at Henning Field in Crescent. Applying the late tage is St. Clairsville’s Tyler McFarland. Barton won, 10-2. Additional images can be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com